John A. Krug
Rabbi Dr. Krug is Acting Principal of the Friesch Yeshiva High School of Paramus, New Jersey
Ten Da'at, A Journal of Jewish Education Vol. XII, Elul 5759, Summer 1999

Key Words: Drama, theater, informal education, creativity.

This article is excerpted from a monograph entitled: "The Use of Creative Drama and Theatrical Technique in Informal Jewish Education." 1 It is my intention here to excerpt portions of that essay, which are equally relevant to formal Jewish education. We will begin with the importance of creativity in the educational process and the drawbacks of stifling creativity. Next we will view some of the rabbinical strictures on theater and drama and attempt to place them in a proper historical and cultural perspective. Finally, we will illustrate the uses to which creative drama can be put in either informal or extracurricular activities.

Creativity and the Educational Process
Creativity in education occupies not only an important, but also even a central place in Jewish educational philosophy and pedagogy. From the text of the Gemara - evidence of the deeply analytical, highly individualized and thoroughly creative approach to Jewish law and lore - to the treasure-trove of mefrarshim, she'elot u'teshuvot and hiddushim, one can easily ascertain the laudatory position and elevated respect accorded to the creative thinker and the creative process. For example, a gleam is brought to the eye of any rebbe by a talmid generating an insightful comment or "coming up with a hiddush." What greater thrill and satisfaction can there be than listening to a novel explanation worked out by a student?

Webster defined creativity as "the ability to bring into existence, invest with new form, or produce through imaginative skill." Carl Rogers, in attempting to formulate a more psychologically oriented definition, posed the following approach, known as "interactionalist:"

The creative process is the emergence, in action, of a novel relational product growing out of the uniqueness of the individual on the one hand, and the materials, events, people or circumstances of his life on the other.2

Implied in this definition is the creation of something new, something that one has never seen, or something that has never existed. It involves adventurous thinking, getting away from the stereotyped main track and breaking out of the mold. It represents a successful step into the unknown. Included in creativity, therefore, are such considerations as invention, discovery, curiosity, imagination, exploration, analysis and innovation. Creativity, however, is not merely a desirable component in the cultural and social sense, but also plays an important and even necessary role in the educational aspect and psychological functioning of the individual. Creativity is also important from the standpoint of personality development and mental health.

Creative thinking contributes importantly to the acquisition of information, and may ultimately be demonstrated to be as important in this respect as memory and similar intellectual functions. Creative thinking is certainly essential in the application of knowledge.3

Creativity plays a major role in the psychological functioning of the individual in such areas as mental heath, coping mechanisms, educational achievement, vocational success, and in the contribution of the individual to his society and subculture. Man's creativity is views as one of the most important weapons in coping with life's daily stresses, emergencies and crises.

Creativity and Jewish Education
In his classic work on modern Jewish thought, Halachic Man, Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik deals poignantly and pointedly with this vital aspect of Jewish life:

halachic man is a man who longs to create, to bring into being something new, something original. The study of Torah, by definition, means gleaning new creative insights from the Torah... Man's task is to "fashion, engrave, attach and create" and transform the emptiness in being into a perfect and holy existence, bearing the imprint of the divine name.4

When man, the crowning glory of the cosmos, approaches the world, he finds his task at hand - the task of creation. Man the creature is commanded to become a partner with the Creator in the renewal of the cosmos; complete and ultimate creation - this is the deepest desire of the Jewish people.5

There is an obvious difference between the Rav's ideas regarding creativity and the notion espoused by modern psychologists. The Rav, basing his position on the need for man to strive for truth and perfection in avodat Hashem, is manifesting a substantially different motivation than the educational or clinical psychologist of today. Nevertheless, an examination of the psychological literature yields a clear enough overlap from which to glean the impact and effect of depriving and denying the creative process to students. A powerful and crucial question that exists in modern Jewish education is: Have we undermined and sabotaged, in today's Jewish education, the development of the ability to approach both limmudei kodesh and limmudei hol with vibrancy, excitement, enthusiasm, energy and creativity?

In the Jewish educational world, creativity is a double edged sword. It can be applied in a constructive and positive way, yielding output and advancement, comprehension and contribution, yet can, as all too many teachers know, be applied in a destructive and negative manner, yielding chaos, miscreants and antagonists. The "double edged factor" has led to two distinctly dichotomized sets of problems for the highly creative individual. One set of problems stems from the fact that the creative person, as the originator a new idea, is in the beginning a minority of one. If the individual proceeds, expresses and develops the creative capacity, social sanctions against divergence are often encountered. The da'at yahid is not necessarily accorded immense respect. In the classroom, it has been shown that "highly creative children are likely to feel isolated and psychologically estranged from their parents, teachers and classmates." 6

When Creativity is Stifled
An additional factor is that there are problems that arise for the creative individual when parents, teachers and/or class attempt to stifle the creative capacity. This can lead to repressing creative needs and imposing self-restraint on creative thinking. In order to understand the potential consequences associated with this, it is first necessary to understand something about the personality characteristics of the creative individual: the different types of creativity that can be affected by inhibitory intervention; how creativity can be blocked, discouraged and inhibited; and, ultimately, what happens when the creativity is stifled.

A concise and precise personality composite tells us that:

Evidence... on personality characteristics suggests that creative persons are more devoted to autonomy, more self sufficient, more independent in judgment, more open to the irrational in themselves, more stable, more capable of taking greater risks in the hopes of greater gains...more dominant and more self assertive, more complex as a person, more self-accepting, more resourceful and adventurous, more radical, more controlling of their own behavior by self concept and possibly, more emotionally sensitive.7

To that can be added that the creative individual possesses a sincere desire to help mankind, coupled with great emotional, mental and physical drive which manifests itself via the energy essential to carry a new idea through to a tangible result. Furthermore, the creative individual has the capacity to tolerate ambiguity and exist in a state in which he does not comprehend all that he perceives and feels.8 These personality traits, inherent in the creative child, are manifested in the young student via three observable characteristics:

First, the highly creative child far more frequently has the reputation for having wild or silly ideas. Second, their productions, whatever their nature, tend to be off the beaten track. Third, their work is characterized by humor and playfulness.9

Creativity can be effected or affected on many levels. Abraham Maslow writes about the notions of primary versus secondary creativity. The former stems from the unconscious, which, he maintains is the source of new discovery, of real novelty, of ideas that depart from those which exist up until that point. The latter refers to productivity demonstrated via functional contributions.10 There are others who add the notion of "human relations creativity," the creativity not with objects, but with people:

Creativity in human relations requires intelligence, sharp perceptions, subtle sensitivities, respect for the individual person, and a personal boldness to explain one's point of view and stand for one's convictions. Creativity in human relations requires individual integrity and an ability to work with others.11

The various types of creativity described above and the traits that go with it, if stifled, can adversely affect the development of the child and have marvelous potential go untapped. All the researchers mentioned (Arnold, Stein, Torrence, Maslow and Anderson), are in clear agreement on this point.

The How's and Why's of Stifling Creativity
The how's and why's of stifling creativity are the next steps in understanding the effects. The question of how can be answered by examining both the theoretical, as well as practical and observable "blocks" that exist. Some of these blocks are externally imposed on the creative child by parents, teachers and/or peers, while others are internally imposed on the self as a protective maneuver. These blocks include premature attempts to eliminate fantasy, restrictions on manipulativeness and curiosity, overemphasis or misplaced emphasis on sex roles, overemphasis on the prevention of fear and timidity, misplaced emphasis on certain verbal skills, emphasis on destructive criticism, and coercive pressure from peers.

These blocks can generally be divided into three main categories: perceptual, cultural and emotional. The first category includes all those things that prevent a child from getting a true, adequate and relevant picture of the world. The second category includes all the effects of society on the individual and the last category includes such things as fears, desires and drives.12

To this list can be added the category of the religious block, when through our Jewish educational system, there is often an attempt to squeeze students into preconceived molds. In addition, the rather small subcultural world of the traditional Jewish community places a heavy emphasis on behavior that is conforming and is in total harmony with acceptable practice, both religious and cultural. In certain cases this includes sanctions against questioning and equates divergence with abnormality. Therefore, within the Jewish educational sphere one can often achieve conformity through the fear of criticism.

Many educators feel that the two most powerful inhibitors of creativity in the early educational process are premature attempts to eliminate fantasy and preventing children from learning more than they are "ready" to learn.13 Certainly, this latter notion contradicts the dictum of Hanokh lana'ar al pi darko, "Educate the child according to his ability," which, as many have pointed out, should be a, if not the guiding philosophy in the Jewish educational process. However, the inhibitory process that does take place is often accomplished in terms of what parents and teachers regard as ideal or model behavior, or the kind of person that they would like to see a child become. Children are pressed into the preconceived mold of conformity, for a child that conforms is well behaved, doesn't cause undue difficulties for the teacher, and can be led along the path without too much upheaval or disruption of "education."

"Conformity rules not because people crave it, but because they fear deviation." 14 This statement goes a long way towards answering the why's. There are characteristics and traits found in creative individuals which general society views with displeasure. These traits include always asking questions, becoming preoccupied with tasks, being courageous in convictions, having emotional sensitivity, being independent in judgment, being intuitive, being stubborn, having an unwillingness to accept say-so, being a visionary, and being willing to take risks.15 Interestingly, upon examination, it would seem that it is precisely these qualities which have marked our gedolim, and which Jewish educators would want to see develop in their students. Unfortunately, what seems to exist is that imagination is, at best, tolerated in younger students, although it is not often encouraged. As the students get older, they are impressed with the fact that the powers of imagination, while being a source of amusement, are not really practical. Students are told that they must get down to reality, start being practical, and begin using appropriate and mature judgment.

The consequences of inhibiting creativity range from inconvenience for the developing personality to severely altering and affecting that personality, sometimes to the point of pathology, inhibiting creativity produces an individual who has little imagination, makes decisions that are always "practical" and "economic;" an individual who takes no, or few, chances. Every action tends to be based on precedence, and where no precedent exists, the individual is at complete loss.

In general, the creative person has certain innate capacities for inspiration, intuition and esthetic feelings, which, if stifled, can lead to suppression and repression. This results in a frustrating inability to satisfy the creative person's growing needs and drives. The creative individual's chances for becoming a really outstanding and imaginative scientist, engineer, mathematician, or even a talmid hakham, or indeed, anything else, are considerably lessened when things are thwarted. There are those who feel that:

... the stifling of one's creative desires and abilities cuts at the very satisfaction of living, and ultimately creates overwhelming tension and breakdown... The ability to learn and think creatively is our most valuable resource in coping with life's stress and maintaining our sanity...Prolonged and enforced repression of the creative desire may lead to actual breakdown of the personality.16

Stifling creativity can lead to a tendency to follow a single direction of thought, and an inability to break a "set" in the thought process. The creative child who abandons his or her creativity, either as a result of externally imposed blocks or those stemming internally, sometimes becomes a very conforming, too obedient child. As a consequence, these children tend to grow up with a lack of confidence in their thinking and thought processes, be uncertain of their self-concepts, and are overly dependent on others in making decisions. Without their creative abilities at work, children cannot know their capabilities and potentialities. Children may also fail to develop realistic self concepts because they have not been provided with situations in which it is safe to practice without evaluation or scrutiny.

In these days of greater sensitivity to the education of special children accommodations are made at various levels of learning disabilities. It is important to note, therefore, that repressing a natural tendency to learn creatively by questioning - rather than by authority - can lead to a child carrying a label such as "slow learner" or "stupid" throughout an educational career. This engenders the possibility of life-long repercussions in terms of self-image, self-esteem and self-confidence. The emotional well being of a student should be as much at the forefront of an educator's concerns as is the acquisition of knowledge and intellectual skills development.

While the effects of repressing creativity outlined above seem to be quite severe and disheartening, no suggestion is being made that the Jewish educational system is producing a generation of students who could all qualify for a psychopathological diagnosis as a result of their schooling experiences. However, if we are engaged in a process that inhibits the emergence of personality traits and characteristics, then we stand to do some soul-searching and introspection with regard to having generated developmentally short changed individuals. To shortchange our charges is to rob our people of potential great contributors.

The need for an administrator to sensitize faculty and staff members to the importance of both recognizing the potential and value, and encouraging the development and actualization of creative processes, is quite pressing. Every educator understands the need to balance this sensitization process with the stark realities, such as curriculum demands and time constraint, of operating an efficient and reputable academic institution, but it should not be at the cost of wasted human potential.

Drama: Good News and Bad News
Drama has been shown to have many benefits in educational spheres. It is an outlet for self-expression and communication, leads to emotional matureation.17 Fluency in speech, self-knowledge, self-respect and self-confidence are cited among the personal attributes that improve through drama and involvement in creative activities. Creative educational techniques spur individuals to higher level thinking and functioning as they can see the world for what it might be, rather than being limited to the concrete reality of what it is.18 Were more drama introduced into formal education, the more responsive our students would become.

The bad news, however, is that there has been a pronounced reluctance on the part of Jewish educators, particularly in the traditional world, to delve into the realm of creative drama and theatrical technique. This reluctance seems, in part, to be drawn from the negative mold in which drama and theater have been cast in rabbinical literature. We would like to examine some of those bad reviews and explain why we believe our proposal to be sound in any event.

Theater in Talmudic Literature
The Talmud (Avodah Zarah 18b) says:

One should not go to theaters and circuses because entertainment (i.e., sacrifices) is arranged to honor the idols. This is the opinion of Rabbi Meir. The Sages, however, say that where sacrifices are actually offered the prohibition [against attendance] is due to the suspicion of idol worship; where sacrifices are not actually offered, the prohibition is due to being "in the company of the scornful" (Psalms 1:1)

The antipathy towards theater persists into modern times. In commenting on Shulhan Arukh (OH 307:16), who cites "the company of the scornful," the Mishna Berura, says:

This applies to theaters, circuses and similar pastimes... Today, unfortunately, many take this prohibition lightly. They attend theaters in spite of that Scriptural declaration, "Do not rejoice, O Israel, as do other nations." This practice also incites evil inclinations within their souls.

In yet another sample of the way in which the rabbis looked askance at the world of theater, there is a prayer quoted in the Jerusalem Talmud (Berkhot 4:2) which says:

I give thanks to you, oh God, and God of my forefathers, for giving me a part and portion of the study halls and synagogues, and not of the theaters and circuses.

Certainly, one cannot be any clearer regarding the lack of esteem that the rabbis held for what they considered to be a clear and present danger.

Theater in Modern and Contemporary Responsa
Rav Ovadiah Yosef continues, today, the negative sentiment about theater that has been expressed by the rabbis throughout the ages. In one of his responsa (Yabia Omer YD 3:18), he includes the parenthetical observation that:

It is not the way of Jewish women [benot Yisrael] to attend theaters and circuses... Indeed, there is no distinction, in respect of this prohibition, between men and women.

Responding to a question regarding placing flowers on a coffin, Rav Ovadiah (op. cit., 24) also cites the prohibition against attending theaters and circuses. He maintains that this is a subsection of the prohibition against following the practices and behaviors of the non-Jewish community, thereby introducing yet another concern regarding attending theaters.

Rabbi Eliezer Waldenberg (Tzitz Eliezer vol. 12 no. 15) responds to a question regarding the rental of halls and auditoriums for High Holiday services, and the permissibility of conducting services in a location:

...which is used throughout the year for abominable activities and the dissemination of scorn and heresy.

He also refers to Iggerot Moshe (OH 1:31), who addresses a similar question regarding the appropriateness of praying in a location where indecency occurs on a regular basis. Though Rav Moshe never uses the word "theater" in his response, the Tzitz Eliezer understand Rav Moshe to refer to movie theaters and what might probably be referred to as burlesque halls.

These contemporary responsa display contempt and loathing for the modern versions of the Roman theater and react harshly to the types of performances and kinds of shows that people frequent nowadays. In his concluding paragraph of his responsa, Rabbi Waldenberg states:

One must note that merely entering such facilities, not for prayer, is highly questionable, since one not only places oneself in a situation involving a profanation of The Name, but also reinforces transgression.

These contemporary authorities have taken a united and firm stand against what they consider to be the indecencies associated with theaters and other forms of public performance.

Theater from a Historical Perspective
In order to understand Hazal's antipathy towards theater, and the ramifications that it has for today's educational world, one needs to know something about the development and history of the theater.

The Mishnah and Jerusalem Talmud were products of the Hellenistic era and reflect the influence of Greek and Roman culture which penetrated deeply into Palestine, and affected the society and lives of the general Jewish population. The art of drama, in this culture, was closely connected to religion.19 Dionysus, for example, in Greek cult and mythology, was a god of fruitfulness and vegetation, specializing in wine. "His worshippers sought to become possessed by or assimilated to him by wild dancing and the tearing in pieces and eating of animals."20 And, it was this god that was depicted in Greek tragedy, one of the three distinct drama genres left as legacy by the Greeks.

Greek tragedy is a striking example. Produced for the religious festival of the Great Dionysia and performed as party of the Dionysus worship, Greek tragedy was as close to ritual origins as any form of drama could be. That there is a connection between this first fully fledged form of European drama and religious ritual could not be more patent.21

The emphasis in Greek drama focused on divine and cosmic themes. The guilds of Dionysiac artists were formed in the third century before the common era and reflected the worst fears of the rabbinical leadership of the time: idol worship was, via secular society, invading and making its way into the heart of the Jewish community. It is not difficult, therefore, to understand why Hazal's reaction to the presence of drama was so antagonistic.

Yet, theaters did find their way into ancient Israel, and Jews did frequent these places for pleasure and entertainment. To date, archeologists have uncovered twelve theaters in what is present day Israel (i.e. west of the Jordan river), and eighteen other theaters east of the Jordan River.22 These theaters appear to have been built at the end of the Greek period and the beginning of the Roman occupation, a 300 year period spanning the transition from before the common era into the common era. The location and function of these theaters was obviously well known to the rabbis of the Talmud.

Drama as a Positive Value
While attendance, per se, was inadvisable, license was provided for extenuating circumstances. As the Talmud (Shabbat 150a) states:

R. Shemuel bar Nahmani says in the name of R. Yohanan: It is permissible to attend theaters, circuses and basilicas [even?] on Shabbat in order to oversee public affairs.

Indeed, the Talmud (Megillah 6a) even foresees a legitimate use for theaters:

"It shall be as a study hall (aluf) in Judea and Ekron like the Yevusi" (Zekhariah 9:7): This refers to theaters and circuses of Edom [Rome] where the princes of Judah are destined to teach Torah in public.

This expresses a hope that theaters would be linked one day to education and become facilities where Jewish audiences would have their Jewish identities strengthened. Today's media, film, music, theater and other "art" form certainly present a halachic challenge. The kind of dress, language, content and potential impact and effect of the aforementioned render these pursuits highly dubious. Yet, if the use of drama could assist in spreading and enhancing Jewish education, should it not be considered for use? Does "theater" today have the same cultural connotation as in the days of the Talmud, or do they only share a name? May we assume that Hazal condemned the "medium" because of the "message" it carried, or must we consider the medium itself as inherently at odds with the Jewish values system and world view?

Theater, like the Internet, is a tool that can be used and abused. The Internet, for all of its potential abuse as a vehicle to screen pornography and violence, can, and most often is used to disseminate wondrous aspects of human knowledge and achievement to untold people. Creative drama, in spite of its pejorative association, can be used as an educational tool to enrich the world of Jewish pedagogy.

Drama as an educational tool has become very popular. Its success as a legitimate learning device is well established22 and its incorporation for use in Jewish education is long overdue. The benefits it offers, including development of social awareness, emotional maturation, self respect, self confidence and ability to cooperate with others23 are as crucial to Jewish education and Jewish children as to anyone else.

When properly used [drama] completely involves the student in an active learning process. It makes demands upon him, demands which he meets willingly, eagerly, because of his interest in the task at hand. It draws on his creative impulses, on his imagination, on his innermost intellectual and emotional resources. He is not merely being taught, receiving passively the knowledge being transmitted to him by the teacher. He is an active partner in the learning process.24

The Role of Drama in Informal Education
As proposed by Barry Chazan, there are three important reasons for pursuing informal education as a serious discipline. Although home life, peer groups, families, neighborhoods and world events impact on the Jewish identity of a person, they lack three key components and ingredients which need to be a part of informal education: "Intentionality," respect for the autonomy and dignity of the learner, and worthwhile activities.

Informal education must be goal directed and learning oriented. It must have methodology and structure, organization and planning. "intentionality" in the informal learning process implies that there exists "conscious intent or desire to affect the Jewish character of people.25

The second requirement bespeaks the importance of teaching self-worth and self-dignity in the educational process. Students must be permitted and even encouraged to make decisions and to develop the process of discrimination, the ability to tell right from wrong, good from bad, appropriate from inappropriate. This, alone, is what will allow young people to become mature adults capable of self-advocacy.

Finally, there is a recognition that only by offering activities that are worthwhile can there be a hope of education being meaningful, and, therefore, lasting for the participants. It behooves the professional educator to carefully structure informal educational activities with as much care as should be devoted to formal educational pursuits.

It is not necessary, however, for each teacher, administrator or school to "reinvent the wheel" in preparing informal programs. There is a wealth of information that is readily accessible and a vast amount of content easily adapted.

How does one begin to develop an approach for the use of drama, dramatic technique and film in informal Jewish education? It requires integrating separate disciplines, which, though overlapping and intersecting on several planes, have unique and distinct professional requirement.26

Drama involves an ultra-high degree of creativity and innovation, and an ongoing, elevated level of sensitivity and awareness. The educator needs to be familiar with various acting methodologies and the components associated with presentations and performances. Familiarity with techniques of the director is useful, and at least a tangential knowledge of the following, all or some of which may be called on in designing a program: script writing, timing, tempo, pace, characterization, lighting, set design, choreography, movement, blocking, costuming, vocalization, casting, props, scenery, special effects, et. al.27

Most importantly there needs to be willingness, perhaps even aggressiveness, to integrate the creative process with knowledge acquisition and educational goals. This opens up a whole world of possibilities for learning. This willingness, of course, is not limited to the teacher, but must be supported by an administration ready to search for and acquire any key that will unlock the door to learning and enhancing Jewish education.

Three Illustrations:
GOAL: To expose participants to a brief overview of Jewish history utilizing a presentational format in a "round robin" approach.

A "round robin" activity involves moving a group from one location to another. Although the logistics can be nightmarish if not properly thought out in advance, this style of program nevertheless provides several benefits. It prevents the group from becoming static or complacent, and allows for the presentation of diversified material in a short amount of time. Numbers also do not become a problem; round robins have been used successfully with as many as five hundreds participants. Coordination is the key to the program's success.

In the "Tour of Jewish History," a specific number of locations are set up as stops along the tour according to the size of the facility and number of participants in the group. At each location, there is a presentation. It can be a multimedia piece, a skit, a monologue, a museum display with artifacts, etc. If, for example, there are two hundred participants, there may be ten locations, each catering to twenty viewers at a time. Each presentation will have to be repeated ten times, so that all participants get to view each specific time period. Each presentation may last, say, for ten minutes, with three minutes of "travel time" between exhibits.

At each location, the participant get to visit with a historical figure, or see something related to a specific epoch of Jewish history. Participants can enter Noah's ark, or be entertained by Abraham in his tend. The victims of a group of crusaders carrying out a massacre may describe their plight and their reactions to it, or Maimonides might describe what he is working on for his next book. It is up to those running this event to utilize their creativity and expertise to make something come alive for the participant and heighten the relevance that Jewish history has for them.

I would recommend that the last presentation that everyone sees should be a futuristic one. The entire group should come together for a visit with the last Jew in the world: a museum exhibit; the only surviving relic of a people now gone. Such a program can be a moving and memorable event for the participant. The timing, movement, logistics and coordination of the event must clearly be thought out in advance, as lack of proper planning can undermine what might otherwise be a most successful activity.

There is often confusion about events within Jewish history and how they fit in chronologically with each other and with world history, as well. History teachers face the challenge of making the topic come alive and this activity affords the opportunity to do just that in a thought-provoking and meaningful way. The topic can easily have included within in, or be followed up by various textual pieces and reading assignments. Once again, the relevance of the topic matter to the viewers is what can make it memorable and compelling for them. This program is a good example of the potential dovetailing between formal and informal educational technique, and thus, makes it quite worthwhile.

GOAL: To sensitize participants to the state of financial affairs within the Jewish community, and how communal leaders establish priorities for funding programs and activities.

In this group activity, participants are divided into subgroups of five or six participants per group. A list of Jewish communal organizations and causes - some of which are listed below - is given to the participants. Policy statements, where available, should be supplied as well. These lists should be tailored to the specific community in which the program is being held, and relevant to the age of participants. Each subgroup is given a certain sum of money, which it must allocate to the organization that it deems the most appropriate and the most important to receive funding. When the subgroups reconvene so that all participants come together, each must present its findings.: how they arrived at the organizational list they did; which organization may have been eliminated from funding; and how and why the allocations appear as they do. It may be helpful for the advisor to limit the number of organizations, by stipulating, "Choose the ten most important organizations to and for the community."

The group's reflection and decision making process become important for later discussion, and some subcultural patterns that emerge can become truly revealing and intriguing. Amongst the organizations that might be included on a list are: local synagogue; local day school; Talmud Torah; gemah (charity distribution for poor); tomchei Shabbat (food delivery for the indigent); "meals-on-wheels" for Jewish elderly; State of Israel; mikveh; Jewish Community Center; hakhnasat kallah (financial assistance for weddings), hevra kadisha (Jewish burial society), hatzoloh (emergency medical service), Yad Sarah distribution of medical equipment), Bnai Brith chapter, Jewish day care centers, etc.

Inviting representative from the various organizations to the allocation subgroup can add a bit of additional spice to the program. Because the students will be exposed to these representatives, their link to practical application will be made. This actualization from the theoretical to the practical is yet another goal of education, and their exposure to leaders and communal role models is a most positive side benefit of this activity.

GOAL: To familiarize participants with stories in Tanakh, to read the text correctly, and inferential thinking skills. This activity follows the round robin technique described in the first example.

The program begins with a fun-type skit presentation of a writer hard at work at his typewriter cranking out a murder mystery. [As he thinks aloud while typing the words, "It was a rainy night," he might get hit with water.] During the course of the skit, he sets out the parameters for what the participants are about to see. There is a Tanakh murderer operating in the area. Any murder committed by the Tanakh murderer has to be exactly the same as it is described in the Tanakh. If it is not exactly the same, the perpetrator cannot be the Tanakh murderer.

Participants, in subgroups of six to eight [per location], travel around to various sites. At each site, a teacher, who reviews a prepared text from Tanakh with the group, greets them. After learning the text, the "detectives" then go in to investigate the scene of the crime. In some cases, it is the Tanakh murderer's work, and in others it is not. In the case of Cain and Abel, for instance, there might be a rope lying next to the body. This would not be the work of the Tanakh murderer, since he would have had to use a murder weapon that drew blood. Various clues are left at each location, and it is the job of this group of detectives to gather the information and deliver a crime report. Each group has a chief detective, who then represents the subgroup at an inquest at the end of the program. After examining all the clues, and hearing how each group of "detectives" arrived at its conclusions, the real answers are then supplied.

Each location has to be carefully thought out and well planned. The use of commentaries and midrash can be included in the text session part of the program if desired. It is a fun way with which to integrate text with the active participation program. Such programming, incidentally, not only supplies a different kind and level of activity for the participants, but also can serve as a catalyst for the creative thinking of those in charge of planning.

One of the tasks of the professional educator is to encourage and gently guide the student to higher ordered thinking. This activity, utilizing biblical text as the jumping off point for the event, has students engaged in detective reasoning and inferential comprehension. The activity is a challenge to the creative mind (much the same as "brain teasers") and can be implemented in a way that encourages group cohesiveness and cooperation. Such activity provides the opportunity for multi-level and multifaceted educational goals to be achieved.


1. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the fellowship requirements of the Rabbi Dr. Joseph H. Lookstein Center for Jewish Education in the Diaspora, Bar Ilan University, June, 1998.
2. Rogers, Carl: "Towards a Theory of Creativity," S. Parnes and H. Harding: A Sourcebook for Creative Thinking (NY, 1962), p. 65.
3. Torrence, Paul E.: "Developing Creative Thinking through School Experiences." Parnes and Harding, op. cit., p. 33.
4. Joseph B. Soloveitchik: Halachic Man (Philadelphia, 1983), 99-101.
5. Ibid., 105.
6. Torrence, Paul E.: "Rewarding Creative Behavior," (Englewood Cliffs, 1965).
7. Taylor, Calvin: "A Tentative Description of the Creative Individual," Parnes and Harding, op. cit., 182.
8.Arnold, John E.: "Education for Innovation," Parnes and Harding, op. cit., 130; Stein. Morris: "Creativity as Intra and interpersonal Process," Parnes and Harding, op. cit., 87.
9. Torrence, Paul E.: Education and the Creative Potential (Minneapolis, 1963), 36.
10. Maslow, Abraham H.: "Emotional Blocks to Creativity," Parnes and Harding, op. cit., 94.
11. Anderson, Harold: "Creativity as Personality Development," in idem.: Creativity and its Cultivation (NY, 1959), 119.
12. Parnes, Sidney: "The Creative Problem Solving Course and Institute at the University of Buffalo," Parnes and Harding, op. cit., 308; Taylor, Calvin: Creativity; Progress and Potential (NY, 1974), 98.
13. Taylor, ibid. 78.
14. Stoddard, George: "Creativity in Education," in Anderson, op. cit., 181.
15. Torrence, op. cit., 229.
16. Op. cit., 45.
17. Lowenfeld, Viktor and Brittain, W.L.: Creative and Mental Growth (NY, 1970).
18. Reid, J.B., et. al.: "Cognitive and Other Peer Characteristics of Creative Children," Psychological Reprots 5 (1959), 729-737.
19. Freidrich, Rainer: "Drama and Ritual," in Drama and Ritual (Cambridge, 1978).
20. Bieber, Margarete: The History of Greek and Roman Theater (NJ, 1961).
21. Friedrich, op. cit.
22. Segal, Arthur: Theaters in Roman Palestine and Provincia Arabia (NY, 1995).
22. Allen, John: Drama in Schools; Its Theory and Practice (London, 1979), Barnfield, Gabriel: Creative Drama in Schools (NY, 1974).
23. Meiseles, Andi and Rivel, Carole: Creativity, the Arts and Jewish Education (Jerusalem, 1991).
24. Citron, Samuel: Dramatics for Creative Teaching (NY, 1961), 5.
25. Chazan, Barry: "What is informal Jewish Education?" Journal of communal Service 67:4 (1991), 300-308.
26. Rembrandt, Elaine: "Educational Theater in the Religious School," in Marcus, Audery and Zwerin, Raymond (eds.): The Jewish Teachers handbook vol. II (Denver, 1990), 69.
27. Rembrandt, Elaine: "Theater as an Educational Tool," in Marcus, Audrey and Zwerin, Raymond (eds.): The New Jewish Teachers Handbook (Denver, 1994); Meiseles, op. cit.

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